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Mindful : April 2017
TIP Danger Lurking Everywhere Apparently, the root of the word “anxiety” has to do with constriction and squeezing. They got that right. Anxiety can feel like being gripped or pushed or held down. In my mind’s eye, I see the “giant” Gulliver from the Jonathan Swift novel being tied down by the Lilliputians with hundreds of little ropes. Each of our worries is another Lilliputian manning a rope and a stake. We tug against it, but it pulls tighter. Just think of all the many ropes these Lillipu- tians can get you with. Someone close to you just lost her job. She’s in a lot of pain, scared about the future. So are you. The phone rings, at night. Is it bad news about your mother? Has she been rushed to the hospital? Just turning on the news can make you anxious. Social unrest, war, environmental degradation; what kind of future lies ahead? And what about the world we’re leaving for our grandchildren? Maybe we should never have brought children into this nightmare...and down the rabbit hole we go. If you’re like most of us, you can also get crazy anxious about your things. Your bike, clothes, → If you are one of the roughly one in five people who have a chronic anxiety disorder, high levels of anxiety may be frequent or unbearably intense. You may need to pay close attention to the types and doses of mindfulness practice you employ and perhaps seek the aid and advice of a therapist. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) has developed some prac- tices that have proved effective for people with chronic anxiety; anxiety and depression combined; and for anyone having an anxiety attack. If your anxiety or depression is deeply interfering with your ability to live your life, it is best to consult a professional. Oh boy, I have got to calm down. I stress out waaay too much. I’m such an anxious person. Wait—that’s merely thinking. Not facts. Breath Breath Breath Is my sister OK? I’m sure she’s OK. In mindfulness meditation, when you notice a thought, you’ll likely be tempted to dwell on it and take it somewhere. Instead, you can just touch it lightly with your attention and go right to your breath. It doesn’t matter if you were off in space for a long time. In the moment you touch the thought, you can bounce right back. For resources about mindfulness and anxiety, go to mindful.org/anxiety GETTING HELP LIGHT TOUCH April 2017 mindful 51